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What Your Child Will Learn From Gymnastics, Part 3: HARD WORK IS ITS OWN REWARD
Brett Aplin | January 24, 2017

Image of a young gymnast smiling as she drinks some water during a short break from her workout

In our previous post in this series, we learned that gymnastics teaches enduring strength. More than six-pack abs or chiseled biceps, gymnasts learn a strength of CHARACTER that helps propel them to success in LIFE.

Today’s topic: Gymnastics Teaches that Hard Work is its Own Reward.

Read other posts in this series:

No doubt, we all strive for “gold medal moments” in life – little wrinkles in time when everything comes together and we feel we have reached our fullest potential:

  • Becoming the CEO of a company we started at decades before
  • Sending a child to college knowing we’ve done our best
  • Being recognized for contributions we’ve made to our communities, churches, or other organizations

But the reality is, not every moment feels this impactful; nor can we guarantee that the hard work we put in today will yield the exact results we want in the future.

In a similar way, gymnasts train to be at their best when it matters most: when competition season rolls around (and more specifically, at their most important meet of the year – State, Regional, or National Championship – depending on their level).

But while few things can compare to the feeling of standing at the top of the podium after months (and years) of long, hard, grinding work, it’s important to place these moments – win or lose – into perspective.

Let’s do a little math exercise, shall we?

When and Where Do Gymnasts Earn Their Rewards?

Our Level 10’s workout 5 days per week, year-round. Accounting for holidays, that’s roughly 250 practices per year.

These same Level 10’s attend 9 competitions per year, which means that less than 4% of their “gymnastics days” give them an opportunity to hop up on the medal stand and reap the “fruits of their labor.”

(For the mathematically challenged, that’s 9/250, which equals 3.6%…tracking with me?)

Let’s take it a bit further.

A week of practice equals 22.5 hours. Multiply that over 50 weeks per year, and the result is 1125 hours of practice time.

Competitions typically last 2.5-3 hours; but more importantly, each gymnast will only have about 3 minutes and 30 seconds in each competition during which she can “show her stuff” to the judges!

3.5 minutes X 9 competitions = 31.5 minutes throughout the course of a season.

Those 31.5 minutes are .04667% of her total time invested in gymnastics every year.

DID YOU CATCH THAT? During less than 5 hundredths of 1 percent of her training time does she even have the CHANCE of winning a medal!

This means that, while standing atop the medal stand to wrap up her competitive season might be the ideal CULMINATION to her work, 99.95% of the growth, change, and progress that a gymnast gains from the sport comes during the every day, mundane, “back-in-the-gym” training that takes place week in and week out.

So while results matter – and they certainly are worth striving for – gymnasts learn an incredibly valuable lesson indeed: HARD WORK IS ITS OWN REWARD!

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Photo Credit: Rick McCharles